The Poorest States in America

One Nation Under the Poverty Line

The United States is quickly descending into poverty. In total, 42.9 million Americans (14.3% of the country) lived below the poverty line in 2009, an increase of 3.5 million from the year before, according to data released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, there were 37.3 million Americans living below the poverty level in 2007, prior to the worst part of the recession. During that time, the federal poverty level has remained fairly constant. In 2008, the poverty line for family of four was $21,200 and in 2009, it was $22,050. In fact, the Census Bureau found that the number of residents living below the poverty line increased in 31 states across the country last year, but did not decline significantly in any of the 50 states. It’s a grim picture to say the least. We rounded up the 10 states that have the most people living in poverty, by percentage of the total population, as well as Census data showing how many more people have fallen into poverty during the last year in each of these states.The numbers are based on annual surveys of households across the country conducted by the Census Bureau, adjusted each year for changes in the cost of living, as reflected in the Consumer Price Index. Photo Credit: Adrian Miles